Is the stress of the daily grind in the Big Smoke getting to you? Are you looking to get away from the city without spending too much cash? Consider looking no further than your own backyard to unwind and recharge your batteries. Ontario’s tourism department has planned out a few driving routes for you and your family to see all the province has to offer. It may just be time for a road trip.
“We knew we had all of these great little places, but we didn’t have a coherent way to present them,” says Ontario Tourism’s Helen Lovekin. “The routes help point out all the fun things to do in this province.”
Cottages & Countryside
This 630-kilometre route takes you up through the heart of cottage country, up Hwy. 48, around Lake Simcoe, through Algonquin Provincial Park, through Bancroft and Peterborough and back down. Pay a visit to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, home to many works of the Group of Seven, the Ontario Provincial Police Museum and Petroglyphs Provincial Park — where white marble rock features more than 900 aboriginal carvings dating back hundreds of years.
Zip down Hwy. 3 along the north shore of Lake Erie through Talbotville and Windsor, up past Grand Bend and through London on this picturesque and historic 545-km route. Spots of note include Point Pelee, one of Canada’s smallest national parks, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site in Dresden, which commemorates the life of Rev. Josiah Henson (a major source for the novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe) and his contributions to the Underground Railroad.
Niagara To The Grand
Head around Lake Ontario on this 500-km trip, through Hamilton and St. Catharines, south along the U.S. border and west along Lake Erie, up through Brantford. What’s not to like about this tourist Mecca that’s ideal for the kids? See Niagara Falls up close on the Maid of the Mist, take the kids to Marineland, walk the Bruce Trail along the Niagara Escarpment or visit the homestead of Alexander Graham Bell in Brantford.
Georgian Bay Coastal Route
Go west past Collingwood, up through the Bruce Peninsula and across to Manitoulin Island, back down through Sudbury, Parry Sound and Penetanguishene in this 870-km odyssey for both the lover of history and nature. Feed your inner undersea explorer at Fathom Five National Marine Park, site of 22 historic shipwrecks, or recount Bobby Orr’s storied NHL career at the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame in Parry Sound. Sites such as Discovery Harbour and Ste. Marie Among The Hurons — a mockup of a nearly 400-year-old Jesuit settlement — reflect Canada’s multicultural past and present.
Prospectors & Polar Bears
Got a taste for something due north? Start at North Bay, go west towards Sudbury, then north on 144 and around through Cochrane, Temagami and back on this 880-km trek.
Country fans will find a gem at the Shania Twain Centre in Timmins, home to many awards earned and outfits worn by the music starlet. Enjoy a scenic cruise on Lake Nippissing on the Chief Commanda II.
>> For more routes and information, visit ontariotrvel.net/greatdrives.